Jennifer is hanging out at school helping her friend Kiesha put up posters for the upcoming student government election when Kiesha nearly falls trying to put a flyer high on the wall. Instinctually Jennifer’s electric powers emerge so she can save her friend, resulting in electrical burns and a destroyed phone. This moment marks not just the start of Jennifer’s career as the superhero Lightning, but Black Lightning’s transformation into an adult version of The Incredibles. The Pierce family is a superhero family.
Just like the family in Pixar’s masterful spin on superhero and family dynamics, everyone in the Black Lightning family has a role. Jefferson is the veteran hero who trains his new hero-in-training daughters while his brilliant ex-wife does research on how their powers work and analyze substances like Green Light. Meanwhile, sibling heroes Jennifer and Anissa learn how to save the citizens of Freeland from The 100 and whatever other villains make their way to town. The Pierce family has all the pieces in place and it’s exactly where Black Lightning should go.
On Tuesday’s episode, “The Book of Revelations,” Jefferson must deal with clearing Black Lightning’s name after Tobias Whale frames him for the death of Lady Eve. Luckily for Anissa, her father is ready to train her and getting to the bottom of Lady Eve’s death is their first mission together. Meanwhile, Jennifer discovers she has a power of her own and Gambi’s secrets start to catch up to him.
Anissa injected much-needed fun into Black Lightning’s heroics when she joined her father on the streets. It’s nice to see someone who can bring more out of Jefferson than just the measured and brusk conversations he has with Gambi. Having someone to train, work with and teach makes Black Lightning excited and that excitement surges through the entire show. Since the beginning, Jefferson’s relationship with his daughters and Anissa’s journey were the most compelling parts of the show. Adding electrical superpowers just supercharges those journeys.
The investigation into Green Light also provided the blueprint for where Lynn, the only member of the family without superpowers, fits into Team Pierce. Using her skills as a scientist, Lynn helped Jefferson when his powers were on the fritz and she has been instrumental in figuring out what Green Light is, cementing her place in the superhero team. Helping her daughters understand their newfound powers will Lynn busy, even though she’s surely up stepping up the next time science holds the answer to another mystery on Black Lightning. Also, she was the one who convinced Jefferson to train Anissa and is consistently talking sense into Jefferson because she is the one who grounds her superpowered family.
As the youngest Pierce, Jennifer has been the underutilized talent of Black Lightning. Since until now she didn’t know she had powers or know that her father is Black Lightning, Jennifer had been regulated to more mundane storylines about her family and her life at school. Sill, she had some standout moments. There was the hilarious scene where she informs her parents that she plans to lose her virginity at the dinner table, and the small moment where she gushed with her father for taking down two girls who attacked her. Jennifer is a spunky, tough, and funny teenager the series is not using enough, and now it’s given her something electrifying to do.
Jefferson may also need to lean on his family more after the events of “The Book of Revelations” because he’s on the outs with Gambi. He was forced to come clean after Lady Eve’s death nullified the deal Black Lightning’s teammate and old friend made with her. With Jefferson taking a break from Gambi, there’s a spot in his hero team, which members of his family can fill. Even The Incredibles had allies like Frozone, so Gambi could return if he patches things up with Jefferson.
In The Incredibles, the Parr family has a tight family bond and that closeness adds emotion and power to their adventures as heroes. Watching them work through issues as a family is in many ways, just as thrilling as their battle against Syndrome. Dash and Violet are learning from their parents, both as the mom and dad and as Mr. Increidble and Elastigirl, who are veteran heroes drawing from their life experience. The Incredibles works because the enjoyable family relationships become part of the action and not separate from it. Black Lightning should absolutely have the Pierce family team up, if for no other reason than because it would be incredible.
Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on The CW.